The Ekiti State government raised an alarm on Saturday that huge quantities of poisonous items, mistaken for food yet to be distributed as COVID-19 palliative, were looted in warehouses in Ado-Ekiti on Friday.
The Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Akin Omole, said in a statement in Ado Ekiti that raising the alarm became expedient to forestall any harm that could befall anyone who consumed the items.
Also reportedly looted was the office of the Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) in Ado Ekiti.
“Information at our disposal revealed that the Federal Government’s silos, the ADP warehouse and the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) stores, all in Ado- Ekiti, were attacked by hoodlums under the guise of seeking Covid-19 palliatives.
“We insist that Ekiti state currently has no Covid-19 palliative warehouse as all the palliatives had been distributed.
“Unfortunately, the items carted away were Single Super Phosphate and NPK fertilisers, which they erroneously thought was “Gaari’’, cassava grains.
“The SEMA store too has only emergency supplies for disaster response.
“Some people even made away with pre-fermented corns preserved for planting. All these items are poisonous and not fit for consumption.
“We, therefore, appeal to our people not to consume these items because they can kill,’’ Mr Omole warned.
In a similar statement, Olabode Adetoyi, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, confirmed the looting, warning that most of the items carted away contained chemically-treated seeds meant for planting.
“They are not suitable for consumption,’’ he declared.
A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the looters actually defied a heavy downpour in Ado-Ekiti on Friday night to storm the warehouses.
Many travelled long distances either in their private vehicles or in taxis or on motorcycles to get to the warehouses to loot.
Soldiers drafted to the warehouses were late as most of them were almost empty before they arrived. They deployed minimal force in their attempt to send the looters away, but in spite of this, some of them sustained injuries.
Some residents said the looters were encouraged by similar incidents earlier reported in Lagos and Osun states, where mobs looted bags of rice, beans, spaghetti and other consumables stored in government warehouses.